First death anniversary of Mashal Khan: Civil society urged to stand by victim’s family

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PESHAWAR: The first death anniversary of Mashal Khan was observed at Peshawar Press Club and University of Peshawar on Friday. Pakhtoon Students Federation (PSF) has arranged a one-day seminar at Abdul Qadir Hall which was attended by a large number of students, academia and civil activists. Professor Khadim Hussain delivered a lecture to the gathering. Education institutions don’t teach the lesson of tolerance, Professor Hussain criticised the role of Pakistani text books.

The followers of Bacha Khan were also involved in the lynching case of Mashal Khan. Abdul Wali Khan University’s journalism student Mashal Khan was assassinated by mob in the alleged blasphemy case on April 13, 2017. Prof Hussain further added that the barbaric act of Mashal Khan’s killing would be remembered in the history of Pashtuns as an ugly day for the rest of the life.  He admitted that there might be some deficiencies on Awami National Party (ANP) part and he hoped to overcome and preach the non-violence philosophy of Bacha Khan.

Social and political activist Sana Ejaz asked the government to remove hate and intolerant lessons from text books and promote peace and harmony among youth.

PSF General Secretary Abid Yousafzai asked the youth to promote tolerance and respect of opinion. Standing with Mashal Khan’s family is actually rejecting the brutality of the state and non state actors in Pakistan.

The fear of violence is still prevailing in the village of Mashal Khan and that’s why three police constables are performing twenty-four hour duty on his grave. During Swati Taliban time one anti-TTP Swat person’s dead body was dug out and hanged in the area. The local authority still feels fear likewise incident with Mashal Khan. This is sheer brutality while securing someone dead body under tons of soil in the grave.

At Peshawar Press Club, ANP central leader Bushra Gohar asked the state institutions to work for harmony and soft syllabus. “Glorifying the warriors in books attracts the youth towards guns, bullets and swords”, Bushra also criticised text book boards. The silence of majority of the population due to fear will further encourages the fundamentalists, she warned the nation.

Mashal Khan’s father Iqbal Lala is fighting the case alone against the school of thoughts, she added. Now it’s the state and civil society responsibility to stand with the victim’s family.

PSF GS Abid asked the government to establish research center in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and at press club dozens of rights activists demanded to change Swabi University name after Mashal Khan University.

It is pertinent to mention that majority of the alleged killers of Mashal Khan were released by the Anti-Terrorism Court and later Peshawar High Court on bail. The provincial government and Mashal Khan’s father have appealed to the apex court to review the judgment.